לאבלוג // מהארכיון של רון ב.ט. "Masterpiece"

פעם היה לי קטע שאני אפרסם סיפורים ואהיה סופר גדול. עכשיו יש רק חתיכות מוזרות כאלה שבעיקר מביכות אותי. הנה אחת.

Masterpiece

My friend waited tables at the neighborhood restaurant that passed as the fancy dating spot around these parts. It had faded wooden tables, chairs and a stone floor, smudgy black from its tired days as a mechanic's workshop.

There was a window, large and covered almost completely with a white curtain that in all honesty was a dirty brown. On Tuesdays, apparently the fanciest day of the week, they placed lavender-scented candles and artificial flower bouquets at each table. And the first-date couple fluttered in like moths.

I remember taking a girl out on one of those Tuesdays. I remember not knowing what to wear, ending up with my best t-shirt and black jeans. She was radiant, but maybe that was just the magic of the scented air.

My friend, who was much more into books than anyone I had ever met until that point, and since, years after his passing, hated those Tuesdays with a passion. They, he told me once, represented "down-trodden fantasies of romance," which usually included an unber-macho man spending the entire evening trying to impress his date. And, what better way to achieve this goal then to humiliate your waiter.

"This isn't the wine I ordered" the goon would say, after spitting his cheap wine into a half-empty glass.

You see, my friend would get angry at first. But, with experience, he learned that he can't treat these situations resentfully but more like excursions, the kind with binoculars and a beige pocket vest.

So, he'd smile. He'd smile after lavender-drunk guys calling him an "idiot"; the snickering each time he arrived at the table; the condescending tone; the taking cutlery and/or salt and pepper shakes from neighboring tables; retuning dishes for being cold/unsalted/salty/and "uninspired."

He'd endure it all, however, since he knew he had his own private vendetta coming, and he knew they never saw it coming. It took him "a few years," as he told me, to find the "right way to fuck those dudes up" without causing trouble, to mould his masterpiece. He had no interest in being punched in the face, you see, or complained about to the manager. He needed his face ("best face in town," he'd say, and he was indeed a beautiful boy), and he needed the money too.

So, when the "droll" dessert was returned a few times, and after the "weak" coffee was spat back into the dirty cup, the two lovers, including one greasy Neanderthal, were sitting, their scented candle flickering its last dying a lavender death. He was being romantic, or what passed as romantic in these parts.

"Right then," he told me one time, his voice proud and steady over a burning cigarette, "the asshole would ask for the check, and he was damn sure his dick was about three centimeters from its goal. This close" he said, showing a length much shorter than three centimeters with his thump and index, but I'd never let that technicality get in the way.

"So," he went on," I'd go, write out the check, put it in its black check-holder thing, and walk over to the table, real nice and slow. I'd smile, stop between them, the black check binder in my hand, and then, real cool, put it in front of the girl – if I can get a peek down her blouse, well, that was a bonus.

"See, she only smiled. Since, she just thought 'what a nice waiter, bringing us our check like that, all smiling.' But he, he knew. You'd see it immediately. His eyes would just go immediately blank.

"Some of them kept cool, said ‘thank you’ and just took the thing from the girl's side of the table, but you could tell their dick went as soft as your mom's couch. SOFT! Other times, they were like they were stabbed in the gut, jumping, real fast like, more like lunging at that shit, giving me a dirty look.

"But, see, that's the beauty. They couldn't say a thing, I couldn't say a thing, she couldn’t say a thing. I chopped his fucking balls off, and all he could say is thank you. It was perfect. My masterpiece."

He took a drag from his cigarette, and blew a cloud of perfect smoke above his head. I asked him if he minded if I ever wrote about that story, if I "stole it away," and he said "no. No matter what you do with it, it'll always be mine."

I said I'd try anyway, and he smiled and put out his cigarette.

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